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Camping fry-ups & mackerel fishing: British chefs reveal their top summer holiday memories

Publisher - Great British Food Awards
published by

NatashaLS

Jul 07, 2020
11 minutes to read
Image for blog - Camping fry-ups & mackerel fishing: British chefs reveal their top summer holiday memories

We asked some of our favourite chefs and foodies about their standout summer holidays. From foraging for wild mushrooms to mackerel fishing in Cornwall, here are some of their most cherished memories

Image for blog - Camping fry-ups & mackerel fishing: British chefs reveal their top summer holiday memories

GLYNN PURNELL: WEYMOUTH BEACH AND BACON AND EGGS IN A STATIC CARAVAN

“For me, summer holidays meant heading down to Weymouth. My nan had a static caravan, so we’d always stay there. There would be far too many people in such a small caravan, but that’s generally what it’s all about! I have so many fantastic memories – going down to the beach, playing with my brother and sisters, having pub lunches with my nan and grandad and my dad, and then cooking in the caravan. One memory stands out in particular; waking up as the sun was coming through the net curtains to the smell of bacon. At home you would normally get a bowl of cereal or some toast for breakfast, but on holiday in a caravan, you’d always have bacon and eggs.”

Glynn Purnell - chef and restaurateur

Image for blog - Camping fry-ups & mackerel fishing: British chefs reveal their top summer holiday memories

NATHAN OUTLAW: BACON SIZZLING ON A CAMPING STOVE AND FISHING FOR MACKEREL

“My family and I used to head to Cornwall to camp when I was a kid. This meant two weeks of freedom to mess about in the sand dunes and on the beach, just outside of Hayle, near St Ives – I loved it. My friend Danny and his family would join us and I remember waking up to the wonderful smell of bacon frying as Danny’s mum, Rose, cooked massive full English breakfasts on a camping stove early in the morning. We’d get excited about going mackerel fishing, not realising that it’s hard not to catch mackerel when they’re about! I think my love of sea-fresh mackerel, cooked outside and straight from the sea, was born there, as was my love of Cornwall in general. I said back then I would live in Cornwall one day… and now I do!”

Nathan Outlaw - chef and restaurateur

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BRYN WILLIAMS, FISH AND CHIPS ON THE NORTH WALES COAST

“Growing up in North Wales, I was lucky to be able to spend each summer enjoying the great outdoors. In particular, I remember that every year we would travel an hour to Anglesey to go camping. With my mum, dad, and two brothers, we’d head to the coast where we’d often meet up with cousins.

My standout memory from this time is cycling from the campsite to the seaside where we’d spend the day fishing for mackerel. My dad would then take and prepare our catch for the barbecue for us to enjoy our bounty of fresh fish with chips from the local chippy.

I love this memory as it really makes me think of simpler times and the beauty of stripped back food, shared with family.”

Bryn Williams, Award-winning Welsh chef and TV regular

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LIZ EARLE: SAMPLING CREAM TEAS AROUND DEVON AND CORNWALL

“My most vivid childhood holiday memories come from trips to Devon and Cornwall visiting grandparents. They lived just outside Plymouth and we’d stop en-route, half-way, at the home of the Dorset Knob in Morcombelake, for a tin of their famous thrice-baked crumbly biscuits. We’d then spend our summer holidays visiting historic houses and gardens, with day trips to Dartmoor and the seaside.

The common foodie denominator at each place was a delicious Devonshire or Cornish Cream Tea. I remember the heated debates over whether the velvety smooth clotted cream should go onto a fluffy scone first (Devonshire) or be lavishly dolloped on top of the sweetly sticky strawberry jam (Cornish). Maybe it’s because my mother was born in Devon, but I still side with the view that cream should be spread first (like butter), then topped with conserve.”

Liz Earle MBE - founder of Liz Earle Wellbeing and organic farmer

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WILLIE HARCOURT-COOZE: BLACKBERRY PICKING AND FORAGING FOR PUFFBALL MUSHROOMS

“I grew up on an island off the coast of Ireland and during the summer there were five of us kids – we’d constantly have stained fingers as we’d compete to find the biggest blackberry. We would also pop along to Castleisland where there’d be football sized puffball mushrooms that we’d slice and fry in butter in the open air. We’d forage for everything on the shoreline; every three years or so there’d be a particularly low tide in the cove, and we’d collect mussels that were three inches long. I kept a book of all the different types of fish we caught and where we caught them. I still have the book. It was an incredible place and a perfect childhood.”

Willie Harcourt-Cooze, cook and founder of Willies Cacao

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TOM GREEN: MUSSELS ON THE BEACH IN ACHILTIBUIE

“I have wonderful memories of family summer adventures as a child. One of my fondest is the long old slog to Scotland to stay in a little cottage just off the beach in Achiltibuie just opposite the The Summer Isles. My parents would put the seats down in our beloved Peugeot estate and build a bed for me and my three siblings so we could sleep as they drove through the night.

We always stopped for the most amazing scampi and chips in Ullapol whilst watching the seals playing in the water. The best bit was when we reached our destination and went to pick mussels off the rocks, I always had the feeling if we didn’t find enough mussels we would go hungry and not survive! My father would then light a fire on the beach and cook up our bounty of black shells. His rucksack was like Mary Poppins’ handbag, full of everything you could ever need: a saucepan, white wine, garlic, shallots, a big crusty baguette and butter. Always lots of butter!“

Tom Green, private chef and food consultant

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